Venice is so distinctive as a destination to discover the best of both ancient art and architecture as well as world-renowned modern art. And that’s lucky both for visitors and locals. One of Venice’s most famous museums, the Peggy Guggenheim Museum Venice, was a gift from a foresta – the local word for a foreigner. For a Venetian, a foresto is anyone who lives beyond the bridge that connects the world of the mainland to Venice.
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Grand Canal View of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Museum
The gift of the building that houses this famous museum today was from the wealthy American art collector Peggy Guggenheim. She acquired an unfinished palazzo on the Grand Canal, Ca’ Venier dei Leoni, as her residence, and decorated it with the art she had bought during her lifetime. Peggy Guggenheim was an enthusiast of modern art, like her uncle Solomon R. Guggenheim, who established the museum of the same name in New York City. Peggy lived at the palazzo in Venice until her death in 1979. Afterwards, according to her will, the building became a the Peggy Guggenheim Collection museum and has welcomed visitors to view its extraordinary collections since 1980.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice represents one of the most remarkable collections of American and European modern art of the first half of the 20th century, by names such as Picasso, Klee, or Tanguy. The pieces are all set in the rooms that are partially still furnished according to Ms. Guggenheim’s taste. She was also the patron to Jackson Pollock, whose Alchemy stands out in one of the rooms overlooking the Grand Canal. If you wonder why the palazzo was not completed and how it would have looked, you should visit the Correr Museum where you can view a wooden model of the magnificent house.
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“The Red Tower” (1913) by Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico.
The museum has a strong relationship with the Guggenheim museums around the globe so often exchanges of works are arranged: every visit is always a little different from the previous one.
In addition to the permanent collection, the museum also hosts exhibitions in the building acquired by the Foundation a few years ago that can be reached across the garden. In the garden, more exhibits are on display and a plaque in a corner marks the spot where Peggy and her beloved dogs are buried.
A whimsical ancient and modern view
If you plan a longer stay in Venice, it may be worthwhile to become a member in order to get a pass to the museum and the newsletter with the many activities offered only to members. For families visiting Venice with kids, a membership includes free workshops for primary school age children, available in English, Italian, and French, related to the collections. I wouldn’t miss the openings of the exhibitions held in the garden (with the chance of visiting the collection with the rooms almost empty) and the Concert for Peggy held on her birthday on August 26. For those keen on the history of art, an invaluable opportunity is given by the “Guggenheim Art Classes” with historians and critics delivering lectures. There are also fun social evenings called called “HappySpritz@Guggenheim.”
The museum’s calendar of activities is extensive and lively so better to check what’s on here.
Grazie to author Giacomo for this post. Giacomo is a Prontopia Local who enjoys sharing his passion for the city and helping visitors to get where they need to go easily. Sign up for Prontopia today for a stress-free and fun experience getting around, whether that is to the museums that are off the beaten path on time, from the train station to your lodging, or to a special restaurant reservation or tour meeting point. We hope to welcome you in Venice the local way soon!